Balances at correspondent accounts grow - 17 March, 2003

Balances of correspondent accounts at Russian commercial banks increased considerably at the beginning of business today. In the Moscow region this growth amounted to 20bn rubles ($637m), which has been the largest growth since January 4, and throughout the country the advance was more than 15bn rubles ($478m), which has been the most noticeable gain since February 19. This considerable advance in balances has lead to active purchases of US currency by commercial banks. Evidence of the increased demand for dollars was the gain in the average-weighted dollar exchange rate at this morning's session and in the trade volume at today's UTS, which was almost 1.5 times higher than at the previous session on March 14.